tv Q A CSPAN December 8, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm EST
the major decisions in the country are made by a handful of people and there is tremendous centralized decision-making. you can imagine that the minister of energy brings in revenues and the prime minister who also happened to be in charge of the investment authorities is the guy who invests the funds that are brought in. also, it is her foundation that is in charge of culture activities and universities like georgetown and texas a&m and others to come. she also oversees cultural activities as well. and then you have this for the last couple of months.
he is the chief deputy in many ways. the title of the position was deputy. and then you had the ceo overseeing the whole operation and in many ways, if you think about it, decision-making from investments to cultural activities and overseeing the whole operation, those decisions were made by five people. although the precise number may change by one or two, and some of the personalities might change, the fundamentals of the northeast remain concentrated in that includes legitimacy. an example, this is something that they may have had major
problems with it that they don't have. so although they might have equal amounts or both or even more wealth, they don't have a agile decision-making and leadership as well it also has an incredibly wealthy to find vision. and this includes the activities in agendas that is lacking in other parts of the arabian peninsula and across the persian gulf. it is a vision that initially was compounded by survival strategies. and i will mention in a minute, it was initially motivated by a survivor strategy. when one individual came to power in 1995, there was an irrational fear that qatar would
be gobbled up and trampled by saudi arabia and by developments in iran. and we are engaged in a hyperactive diplomacy to ensure its survival. and then they realized that it wasn't survival that they needed to worry about. it was getting the place secure on the global map in that building on opposition within the global map to enhance the larger position within the global community. and so there is a well-defined vision that is being pursued with unmatched passion. and also important within the political calculus, it is what might be called high modernism. this incredibly active and
robust pursuit of modernity. however it is defined by the government. in the way that the government of the state -- it is defined as construction. and we we see the passage in iraq. we are actively look doha geography is being redrawn and it is being reconfigured as a landscape through the building of the futuristic cities and georgetown university along with other universities is housed in education city and there are all sorts of those that are science and technologies and the term artificial island and there are all sorts of mechanisms to pursue modernity as defined by the government and all of this is pursued by construction projects and the importance of this is not just in changing the
early infrastructure. but in tying the state and bringing within the orbit of the state in the employ of the state, qatari business and entrepreneurs in each of these cities that are being built, one city, for example, slightly north and within it, there is doha land. not too different from disneyland. there is something called doha land. in and all of these are construction development projects, few of which the business community is drawn into the business community orbiting the state and political stability is in many ways purchased. political stability is insured. so there's remarkable political stability, which ties the business community for example
in kuwait to the state division in its pursuit of development and modernistic projects. last but not least, the fourth element in qatar's success is its influence and power and one of the things that struck me about it was how a small state established only in 19701970 or 1971. how can a small state become so consequential. there was a meeting in which a qatari representative, this is before the arab spring, a representative from qatar was very passionately advocating this speech. and he was very easily dismissed by the representative from egypt at the time.
he said please sit down. all the people do not add up to the people in one bus stop in cairo from this country. so when hosni mubarak went to the al jazeera studios, he turned to his information minister and he said, how can a matchbox like this create so much trouble across the arab world? and he told his information minister, you employed 20,000 in cairo and these guys with their handful of people in the al jazeera studios create more problems. so it's qatar part of the influence for real? what i discovered is that doha and qatar through a number of careful and calculated foreign-policy mechanisms and through this careful use of the foreign policy toolbox, several tools in the toolbox has been
able to create conditions whereby they can pursue their interests. and what are some of those tools >> first and foremost, foreign-policy it might be best as hedging and this comes from gambling and it's a term that comes from gambling whereby you place one major bad, let's say you bet on the united states to guarantee your security. and you place a number of smaller bets as well unless they you may then for traumatize with come ons or iran or other individuals they may not necessarily see eye to eye. and what they have been able to do through their carefully calculated policy regimen is to position itself as an important conduit between various actors that otherwise do not speak to one another. so for example, a couple of months ago, qatar was extremely
successful, although aborted in many ways, successful and position of itself and that was really an interesting development. and qatar has been able to maintain very close fraternal ties with iran and at the same time it is anchored in american security under the american security umbrella and under the culture of institutions like universities and the american economy and diplomacy and patterns of development. and this is what might be called subtle influence and what they have been able to do through their subtle power and exercise of this power, they can create a set of conditions and a set of structures, whereby it can exert this in subtle ways and through
the international investments and its careful pursuits of hedging is a foreign-policy initiative. through its very deliberate effort as the al jazeera tv station represents. and qatar is extremely active in branding itself and through a very aggressive advertising campaign. you will see advertisements by the national carrier a part of the foundation in a whole variety of interests that will help create these conditions. and needless to say, this is extremely important. and to so let me end, if i may. with a passage from the book's conclusion, which in many ways
points to some of the upcoming challenges that they are likely to face. unfortunately they did not wait for the book to be published before they decided to retire. first, he retired and then the book came out a couple of weeks later and then some of these sources of success that centralized decision-making, i think it can also become major challenges for qatar in the future. so here is how it concludes. paradoxically, the biggest challenge facing the qatari system in the coming years has also been one of its biggest assets in the recent past, mainly this nature. the regimes focused decision making has given an agility and flexibility and this includes a great navigator of these regions
and troubled waters and his own families fractured past. upwards of 2003, they had never had a successful smooth transition of power. every time there was a transition of power up until 2003, it had come about as a result of the palace coup. of course, all of that changed. and then the on-the-job training occurred since 2000 nine and 2010, assuming an increasing the more visible and active profile and in the countries diplomacy. but how future generations of these rulers will deal with the same challenges that his father dead, it remains an open
question. let us make no mistake about it. regardless of the stewards and the capabilities, the power is underwritten by its well. and as long as that well continues, so is the likelihood that it would project a much larger image of itself than its size and abilities were. the length of the country's current moment in history and how long it can project this form of power that is by all accounts and commiserate with its size and history and infrastructure and scientific resources depends directly on this and in what ways the wealth lasts and can be prolonged. the real challenge is for it than to carry on business as usual. until then, the country can
reasonably assured its place in the limelight of history. thank you so much. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. >> sure, absolutely. >> thank you so much for a very engaging presentation of your book and i predict that there will be many books following in your wake now. opening the floor to your questions. mehran kamrava will field is old on questions thank you. >> we have a microphone? [inaudible conversations] >> sure. >> hello, i would like to ask you. you have talked about the social
cohesion and what we did to john the business community, for example. i'm wondering if you have any thoughts on how the regime deal is and how they deal with domestic dissent and thinking, for example, the individual who is serving a 15 year jail time and i think that it has chosen to uphold that sentence. so do you have any thoughts on what is going on there? >> you know, you mentioned domestic dissent. and qatar is remarkable for its lack of domestic dissent compared to other regional states and it doesn't mean that there are not individuals or chatter in the social media particularly. and most particularly, twitter against erosion of culture or in some of these developments. by and large, you do not have dissent in the country. i will tell you why there is an
absence of this defense. first and foremost, the average per capita gross domestic product is around $354,000 per year. and so it tends to be known that qataris are remarkably wealthy, and even the saudi arabians and the kuwaitis and they know how good they have it economically and financially, and they know that they need this quarter their continued accumulation of wealth. so that is one factor. the other factor is that qatar has a incredibly detailed welfare system. so almost from cradle to grave, every need is addressed in taking care of and to use a political science jargon, it is
the perfect tiered state. with this kind of a state, the kind of issues that become salient and tend to excite people are not necessarily issues of accountability. they are not denounced for transparency. they are all demands that demand around cultural politics and why is their pork sold in the country's only liquor store. the question of a religion or culture, as you know, for all intents and purposes, everyone speaks english. and even qataris people, especially those that attend the american branch campuses, a lot of times they don't speak every
arabica. so that issues that revolve around culture politics tend to be those that are important and the erosion of the cultural authenticity or the qatari culture rather than demands for transparency. these issues can be relatively easy to addressed by the powers that be. for example, you can ban the sale of alcohol is the government did before. or you can somehow address this sale of pork within the country. by and large, at least for the time being, given the current political economy of the country, the population tends to be a political for a variety of reasons. it does not mean that there is individual dissent that might exist. but now, is there something that the sentencing of this, as you
know, the poet is accused of personally insulting a very personal type of insult against a ruling family and that becomes extremely difficult in the context of that culture and of that kind of political system to pardon. having said that, let's not forget that we have been in office only a matter of months and it will take a couple of years, at least for him to put his personal stamp on the political system, as it took his father a couple of years to put his stamp on the political system. so i promise to keep my answers shorter. >> yes, sir? >> thank you very much. i would like to talk to you
about your opening antidote on this. and in your opinion, even when it is considering this with 200,000 people. how does he transform the traditional issues to pragmatism? for example, the empowerment in issues not geographically, but to include more citizens and this is my question. >> i am not sure that for growth you necessarily need people. it depends on how you work with your demographic limitations and no doubt the small size of this limitation poses this in terms of having a robust diplomatic quarter were having a robust civil service that can staff
your ambitions and can follow through. at the same time a limited demography can serve several distinct advantages and for example, if all of your middle class is imported, then you don't have to deal with an inherently politically troublesome middle class. if you do not have a domestic and indigenous working-class, you don't have to worry about strikes. and if the working class goes on a strike, you deport them and then there is a ready pool of replacements. so it depends upon how you can massage and handle these limitations. some of these states can use it to their tremendous advantage. in many ways you can argue that they have pursued an industrial policy that has deliberately hampered the development of an
indigenous domestic working-class. and at the same time, and indigenous working-class. because these guys can be troublesome. we go back to the classic king's dilemma. they can have demands of political participation and political empowerment. having said that, and i will go back to one of the other points that you made. qatar has pursued a deliberate and active policy of women's empowerment. and so you see a deliberate effort by the state to empower women and incidentally the government doesn't even have to try that hard. the women tend to be far more motivated than qatari men. 75% of the national university is women and only 25% is man of
these american branch campuses and this includes 60% of the female body that is female and in many ways, it is part of the natural sense of wanting mobility and the government does facilitate that. so let's go in the back. >> professor, i was wondering before 1995. qatar was subservient and then undergo this much more independently as well. so in this new leadership and [inaudible]
i am wondering if you received that shift and if the new leadership will be able to act independent and will this be the end of this moment in history? >> that is an excellent question. and i do think it is too early to answer. we have yet to see. but please allow me for a minute, i would like to very quickly share with you an anecdote. up until 1995, every six months or so he would think the saudi king for his magnificent leadership of the arabian peninsula. and that homage that the qatari would pay to the saudi king is extremely personally resent by a younger generation of qataris. that younger generation came to power in 1995 and those were the
likes of those who became the prime minister and the foreign minister. and so from 1995 onwards, we have these leaders that personally resent this secondary position that was described in relation and we see this in terms of the foreign policy pursuits to deliberately come out of the shadow. and as you know, up until 2010, 2011, there was tremendous tension, largely because qatar was so determined to come out of the saudi arabian shadow and dismissed it as an upstart and even recently there were tweets, dismissing it as a country of
300 people and 18 east asian. and of course, the foreign minister sent a message back saying that we raised our kids to be a lot more polite than that. and so it were a part of this. so does this with a new crop of leaders, does it have the same visceral resentment of this? i do not think that we know the answer to that. probably not. i do think that we will see the ultimate results of better diplomacy in a year or two. and so we do not know yet. >> hello, i am a second-year student here when i have not had
the pleasure as of yet to ask a question, i'm wondering if you were to advise another state on political reforms, what kind of advice do you think you could give them? >> what kind of advice the qatari system would give to another system or a political reform? >> it seems to be very effective and i'm wondering if this could be something that can be viewed in a different way. >> i do not think that qatar is in a position to adhere to the spirit it happens to be a remarkably stable non-democracy. but by no means is it a reform if you mean a democratic political system and it is not a reformed political system. and that actually brings up the
more interesting question as this thing keeps painting on the. [laughter] >> this microphone. that brings up an interesting impression of the modus operandi of this. and that is making the decisions this way. for example, how could a nondemocratic political system have the audacity to bring in a number of american universities that teach liberal arts? even in a nondemocratic environment. also, how dare does qatar support the yearning for freedom in places like libya and syria, where is itself is a nondemocratic political system. and so what are the calculations that go on in the minds of these leaders that prompt them to make these decisions that really do
not seem quite logical, or in many ways coherent. my response to that or my gut feeling to that is that they make decisions based upon several calculations and first and foremost, is this the right decision? does it serve our interests? does it not alienate the united states? does not alienate them even if they do not agree with it. and is it something that brings us this in an international community and help our branding efforts and doesn't help us in those terms and conspicuously absent are the consequences, the unintended consequences. and so i think that the assumption is that we have enough resources to deal with what ever unintended consequences may arise and when you have a robust alumni and 10
years of all of these individuals who are graduates of northwestern university and carnegie mellon university and georgetown university, all of these would have had a robust group of alumni's and they asked about transparency and the lack of accountability and when they started politicking, how do you deal with the? i think that the assumption is that we have enough resources to deal with at that time. >> professor tucker? >> good evening. >> one has noticed that there seems to be an uptick in the level of public discourse international on labor issues and in particular in connection with this and the programs
related to this and am wondering if, how this is registering and if there is any visible reaction on the part of this small group of key decision-makers to what appears to be what is shaping up as a more significant public relations problem than they had in the past in this area. >> yes, that is right and that is another excellent question. first and foremost, i should say that the power comes -- the power occurs is when you start attracting the wrong kind of attention and once you get involved and become indivisible, then things become very game and you open yourself up to scrutiny, which is what has happened and they are extremely sensitive to their image. as i mentioned, branding is one
of their main concerns and how it is perceived. and surprisingly they have been very concerned domestically about this and what is turning out to be an image problem. and so the minister of labor for qatar had several high-profile meetings and announcements and they are going to address these and look into the living conditions and to what extent this is this is meaningful and it is of course yet to be seen and certainly there is key awareness that this sort of publicity to really attract the wrong kind of attention. and it can ruin this. so there has been a remarkable
sensitivity over the last couple of weeks to the report that has been part of the front page news stories looking at conditions and at the same time there has also been an attempt to say what they have is out of context and exaggerated and there has been some of that. at the same time, there has also been what seems to be a genuine attempt to address a problem. >> thank you for this engaging subject. >> it seems that part of this reputation around the world has to do with this excuse [inaudible]
and this includes other forms that you have gotten and culture development with technology and this includes the excuse of this culture poses the modernity that they are trying to pursue there. >> one way that it has tried to position itself is a successful bridge between science and islamic tradition. and this includes the culture capital of the arab world including cairo and damascus and the other capital of arab
culture or had the historic culture and one of the things that we have seen is a very deliberate attempt on the part of them, the qataris, to say that this is not necessarily antithetical. that they can easily and successfully be together. we see this an example of the american universities where it qatar has set aside 2.8% of its national budget and that is an amazing amount and in many ways on parallel elsewhere, at least in the middle east that i am aware of. so there seems that there is a deliberate effort to foster the progress and at the same time, you do not have to abandon these
assumptions or at your culture and if you look at the national vision of the country, the national vision is a document that is supposed to guide the states attempts and agendas over the next couple of decades. there is very deliberate attention to progress and track progress and modernity in preserving the culture and tradition on the other. and interestingly, the qataris state and some of its main leaders oftentimes make a deliberate effort to say that this is what sets qatar apart compared to other countries where dubai tries to completely ignore tradition and completely abandon what is unique to its tradition and heritage. for us to have progress with modernity at the same time as we
are careful about our traditions. professor, let me know how long to go. i am at your disposal and disposal of everyone. it is now about 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. on doha time, so we have all day. [laughter] >> professor. >> i am a visiting scholar and i am from france. and thank you for this presentation of qatar. i would like to come back to the labor issue and i think that it is certainly very much an important program and many options are talking about the
model of slavery. so in your answer to this issue, he said that we are going to fix the problem. my question is will be fixed the image of doha abroad, or fix the problem as well? >> that is a good question. i think that you start off with the assumption that there is a problem. and i wish that we had an hour or two in order to discuss this. the question is if the problem is so dire and as we assume that there is a modern form of slavery. why is it that there is an
inexhaustible stream of data and isn't as dire as we think it is. what does the average construction worker earn a times the amount that he would earn had we stayed in nepal or india. and so i think that there are major problems in their art horrible conditions and all sorts of exploitations and certain types of slavery. and this will not generalize the condition of all migrant workers. situation is extremely complex
and so much is going back there recently that government said that we want to tax the remittances. and this is a huge revenue streak and so now i don't think that that is quite workable and i think it is extremely complex i don't think it is part of the anecdotal evidence that we can generalize that all workers are in a dire predicament. so having settled with this, i realize that we are trying to talk about an emotionally charged subject in which i
cannot do justice to. but i do believe that it is important to keep in mind that there are people who make a lot of money and there are people who are exploited and passports are compensated and working in horrible conditions and then have to go back to those camps. at the same time, there are a lot of those who are much better off working as migrant workers in qatar, had they stayed. the question of if it is so bad, why do they keep coming back is an important question to address. >> yes, sir? >> i was wondering if you could talk about what is qatar hoping to achieve by hosting the world cup in 2024 and how do they think that they will achieve those goals? >> well, it is trying to achieve the same thing as they tried to
do back in 1996 when they started al jazeera. and the same thing that they tried to do back in 2006 when they hosted the asian cup. and what they tried to do back in 2012 when they hosted the asian football and soccer tournament. it is trying to achieve branding and trying to say that it's not as consequential and it is important. but that it is important in the middle east and beyond. and so the national airline and these high high-rise buildings. all of these are products that are designed to enhance the country's brand. >> in the back.
>> thank you. you have talked about this and do you think that qataris have been in syria, libya, egypt order in the last few months, we have seen how people, how this is in support. in libya we are talking about domestic politics and in syria we are talking about saudi arabia and we saw that even yesterday, with the peace conference that was going on in london. so do you think -- what do you think that qataris have. >> that is a very good question. hedging is a risky business and by nature it is a gamble and incredibly risky for foreign
policy and in addition to the things that you mentioned about a month ago, someone put a sign on the qatar airways office saying that we don't want you to go away and it was not allowed, the jet was not allowed to land in aaa. so had to go back to egypt and land and then finally make its way to tripoli. so qatar has taken a backseat in syria in relation to saudi arabia and a couple of weeks ago, the government of egypt talked about a slap in the face and returned $2 billion that qatar had given in the form of long-term loans and grants to the egyptian government. so the question, as you pose it, it is whether or not a hedging
strategy has failed. i am not sure. i think that it very well could have failed or have backfired. i do think that these are setbacks and my hunch is that in the long term they have positioned themselves. the one thing about subtle power to keep in mind is the creation of conditions and the creation of overall conditions that become favorable and you can cash in and call in favors when you want it. so you might take a couple of hits in the short term and these things in the examples that we just mentioned could be a couple of short-term situations that doha and qatar is suffering. i'm reluctant to say that this is part of a longtime series of setbacks that are pulling back the influence regionally and
globally and it just so happens that as these things are happening, there is a leadership transition that has taken place. and the new leader has a decidedly different style and his foreign minister has a very different style than the former foreign minister and a very different personality and style and he doesn't seek this limelight and he is not thirsty or hungry for the global stage in the same way that the others were ordered as far as the former prime minister goes. interestingly, the former prime minister was also the minister of foreign affairs and the current prime minister is also the minister of internal affairs and there appears to be a more inward focus that is in line solidifying up there.
in the long-term things could change. and in it goes right now, there is a new style of leaders that has had this effect on the foreign policy of the country and at least in its diplomacy is not a foreign policy. >> yes? >> okay, i will comment. >> all right, thank you so much. thank you for this interesting talk. with the presence of this in the energy industry, are we concerned that over the long-term we have sought diversity in the economy that we have become so dependent upon, particularly that of natural gas. and so much that it seems to be changing in the energy industry with unconditional sources of energy becoming more fruitful.
are we concerned that the recent success in excluding those natural resources might become less of this? >> there is a rhetoric and there is a reality. a rhetoric is that we are trying to foster a knowledge-based economy and so the new buzzword, the last two years the buzzword has been a knowledge-based economy in preparation for this. and a knowledge-based economy is great. it sounds very exciting and interesting and it doesn't, at least in the political system, and a fundamentally based economy, it is far from reality. the actual reality is that what
qatar is trying to do is prepare itself through this international investment. so it uses the sovereign wealth to position itself in a way that can bring the revenues with its liquefied natural gas, when that source dries up. one thing that doha and qatar does is that it has, as you know, it is the world's largest supplier of liquefied natural gas and it also has long-term contracts with its purchasers and these usually go for 20 or 30 years. and so it is not as vulnerable to the vague areas of the market as for a country like saudi arabia might be. yes? >> thank you. this is so interesting.
and there have been so many good questions. and i am going to ask the celebrity gossip question. and what is this -- what is he doing now that he is no longer part of this? also in a country where there are so few decision-makers and so many people that drive the agenda and what is their role moving ahead? and what are they doing in the meantime? >> that is a very good question and i don't think that anyone is in a position to answer. the official title is the father and so he does have an official title as the father and he was recently photographed in paris attending a horse race in paris.
and i think that this is a way of retirement and it does not meant for him to be a backseat driver or for the former prime minister to still be able to be active. it is a retirement that is in the making and it is easy in hindsight to second guess and say that i knew that this was going to happen. back in 2010 there were some rumors that becausepen. back in 2010 there were some rumors that because of this, because of his health he was going to retire and then abdicate in favor of his son. but then the arab spring heads and heat of this, the assumption is that it wasn't the right time to fire will only put them up up
up up up up and some have to do with his state of health in his up retirement and he is not enjoying retirement. remember the foreign prime minister and him are incredibly wealthy people and they are enjoying their retirement and style. >> so much for gossip. >> yes, sir? [inaudible question] >> two more questions. [inaudible] >> thank you so much, professor. to what extent is the continued prominence of qatar, but particularly in playing this role with the united states. it is significant for a couple of financial security reasons. and so this extends to saudi arabia with the hundreds of millions who have spent on this
from the u.s. and other countries, the contractors are maintaining that and similar if you look at the industry and correct me if i am wrong it is essentially part of this western staff and there is not really a positive way to maintain that. in a situation where in the u.s. or the west, maybe thinking of reducing its military or political footprint is part of their continued prominence. thank you. >> excellent question. a couple of things that are important to keep in mind is that qatar is a hyperactive diplomacy and it is risk-taking that would not have been made possible had it not been made
for its firm position under the american security umbrella. so the fact that the united states maintains the largest forward base in the world has a lot to do with their ability in the sense of security to then pursue a hyperactive diplomacy and to engage in many of the ambitious and diplomatic system said it wants to do. and so the american security affords him the opportunity to do many of the things that they would otherwise not would have been able to do. and one correction to one thing that you mentioned and thanks to wiki leaks, we know compared to all of the other gulf states, doha and qatar spencer markedly little on its military. and again, it is part of the genius of the foreign policy. they know that the americans are there. and so why spend millions or
billions of dollars in the same way that the saudi's do on this and there's a very interesting situation where the military commanders, he says my budget keeps getting cut and i would like more of a budget that is cut by 10%, which is really interesting because the government was secured in the fact that the united states is there is a why bother spending money on this. having said that, recently, they have placed a couple of military purchases on this. and so having said all of this for the last 35 years all of the states of the gulf cooperation council have cooperated and trent cooperated on attention of
america with iran and they have seen these tensions as an opportunity to position themselves as america's allies with the former ally in this state and the former ally being for all intensive purposes being dismembered and in shambles and all of these states, all of them, and the united arab emirate have capitalized on these tensions. the big unknown variable is what is going to happen if those tensions between us and the united states get reduced? and we see the saudi arabia and in particular, they are extremely nervous. and we know that they have
beards. they are as nervous as prime minister benjamin netanyahu of a possible reduction of tensions between the two parties. so what would they do then with the iranian bogeyman who is no longer there. and that is the thing we have to look at. [inaudible] >> it is my pleasure. >> going back to big politics, asking you whether you see this as we transform ourselves into a global city. do you also see this handful of those who are willing and do you see them engaging in some of these global issues like global
warming and the spread of epidemic diseases in these kinds of issues? or is the habit of this is a foreign policy strategy, will this develop any kind of systematic approach to these issues that we will surely have to impact in the long-term? >> yes, thank you. that's an excellent last question. small states in general often specialize in particular issues. and they become what might be called entrepreneurs. they specialize in a specific norm and then that becomes their area of expertise. norway, for example or other small states. they specialize in one particular issue. and it is no exception.